The glitz and glamour of Bollywood is all set to dazzle Bangkok with the ninth edition of International Indian Film Academy (IIFA) commencing in the Thai capital tomorrow.
Apart from the awards ceremony on June 8, the highlight of the three-day long weekend will be the premiere of Ram Gopal Varma's Sarkar Raj starring Amitabh Bachchan, Abhishek Bachchan and Aishwarya Rai-Bachchan tomorrow.
"It is not a sequel to the previous film Sarkar. It is a fictional story with a different storyline and new set of situations," Varma had said.
This will be the first film featuring the three Bachchans. They were earlier seen in a stage performance where Aishwarya featured in a special appearance.
IIFA is often derided as the "Bachchan family show" in India and called "Bollywood oscars" in the foreign media and the host country.
It has come a long way since the year 2000 when it debuted at the London's millennium dome as a one day award show to a three day event that embraces trade, business, tourism, film premieres, fashion extravaganzas, bilateral engagement and an awards ceremony.
Bollywood fans in Bangkok will not get to see Shah Rukh Khan in action at the three-day IIFA weekend despite his home production Om Shanti Om and the critically acclaimed box Chak De India featuring him in the lead role contending for IIFA trophies in various categories.
Shah Rukh has not been attending the IIFA since 2005, lending credence to the much reported cold war between the Big B and SRK.
However, Shah Rukh has said that since the IIFA weekend coincides with the summer holidays of his children, he prefers spending time with the kids rather than spend three days in a foreign country.
Aamir Khan's Taare Zameen Par, which has won awards in several categories at all popular film award show does not feature in the nomination list.
According to Big B, the brand ambassador of IIFA, Aamir, who is the producer of Taare Zameen Par, did not enroll his film to be selected for IIFA nomination.Aamir's first home production Lagaan was premiered at IIFA a few years ago.
Trade sources wonder whether Aamir's decision is linked to criticism from filmmakers like Sajid Khan, who lost out to Aamir in the best debut director's award in all the awards shows held this year.
Sajid had said the film award organisers should ignore Aamir if he is not interested. "There were many other deserving filmmakers as well," he had said.
Trade sources also feel that Aamir's decision to "ignore" IIFA could be because of his adverse comments about Sanjay Leela Bhansali's Black for which Amitabh had won a national award.
With Salman Khan busy with his debut on television, Akshay Kumar will be the star attraction of the awards nite along with top stars like Kareena Kapoor, Govinda.
Akshay, along with co-star Katrina Kaif, will perform the numbers of the forthcoming film
Sing is Kinng
Other performers include Priyanka Chopra and Harman Baweja, Ritesh Deshmukh, Aftab Shivdasani, Fardeen Khan, Dia Mirza, Zayed Khan, Vivek Oberoi.
IIFA weekends, over the years, have boosted the tourism of the host country and Indian investment there by over 30 to 40 per cent.
Similarly, the interest in Bollywood movies among local population has grown by leaps and bounds and it has facilitated releases of Bollywood movies in the host country in large numbers.
The ninth IIFA in Bangkok has been packaged as "Amazing IIFA in Amazing Thailand" and aims to boost tourism and film trade ties between India and Thailand.
The FICCI-IIFA global business forum being held every year as part of the IIFA weekend, will have Thailand's Deputy Prime Minister and Commerce Minister as the key speaker.
Automotives, gems and jewellery, drug and pharma, holistic wellness and hospitality, real estate and infrastructure are some of the issues to be deliberated in the day long conference.
As part of its 'green agenda' to create awareness against global warming, IIFA will honour Nobel Laureate Dr Rajkumar Pachauri from the Energy and Resources Institute with the Global leadership award.
The first look of upcoming films Mission Istanbul, De Taali, Love Story 2050 will be unveiled at the IIFA weekend and the recently launched Sanjay Gupta film, Acid Factory will also be promoted at the IIFA.
At the IIFA Fashion extravanganza, Bollywood personalities will walk the ramp for their favourite designers who will showcase their designer line along with their Thai counter parts.
The awards show will be hosted by noted actor Boman Irani, filmmaker Shyam Benegal, veteran actress Mumtaz will be honoured with the life time achievement award.